Mindful Driving, Mindful Biking and "Accidents"--Part II

This post is the second half of yesterday's diatribe meditation on use of the word "accident" to describe a preventable negative interaction between a driver and a cyclist or pedestrian.

The conversations I often have after someone on a bike is hit tend to circle around the premise that riding a bike is an inherently risky choice of transportation.

2) If something does happen it's not “caused” by riding your bike! You could be in a vehicle/vehicle collision, a vehicle/pedestrian collision, a lightning strike or an earthquake. Your choice to bike didn't create the situation--the driver's behavior (or yours) did.

When pedestrians get hit by a driver while in a crosswalk no one says, “You know, walking is so dangerous. People really shouldn’t do that.”

They talk about whether the walker or the driver wasn’t paying attention or was somehow at fault, but they don’t blame walking itself. (Nor do they blame driving, you might note.)

So do we all give in and quit riding our bikes and walking? Heck no—we need more people to get out there.
Conflicts between people riding bikes and people driving cars aren’t a new problem. The first automobile crash in the United States occurred in New York City in 1896, when a motor vehicle collided with a bicyclist.

Maybe now—114 years later—we can start to get a handle on this if we all drive, bike and walk more mindfully. Here’s to more fully aware drivers, bikers and walkers on the road and fewer collisions (not "accidents"!) in 2011.

Your turn

Can you honestly say that you drive, bike and walk with full mindfulness and awareness of your surrounding 100 percent of the time?

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  1. Hi Barb,

    A couple of good and timely posts from you, good reminders for all of us. As to your question about 100% mindfulness, it's a worthy goal I know I fall short of. My own story about that is at:


  2. I don't think we can be at 100% all the time, I know I'm not. I made the mistake of trying to adjust something on my bike while on a narrow stretch of road a few weeks ago and ended up scraping the curb while I was leaning over. Of course, someone was passing me at the time. I was able to correct before toppling over, but it was quite the scare. If I had fallen, there wouldn't have been anywhere for that car to go.

    That woke me up real quick.

  3. I know I'm not 100% all the time either. At times I've tried to approach the ride as a genuine mindfulness meditation, which really is a wonderful tool.

    I have three confessions about either lack of mindfulness or presence of plain old dumb-ass-ness that are so long I'm making them tomorrow's post!


  4. I heart mindful drivers & mindful riders! As a non-rider driving walker, I especially adore bikers who make themselves known on the road, who see me and make certain I see them.

    And lastly, I have a great appreciation for riders & drivers who take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel or in the seat.

    Great post, Barb!


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